BROWNE ON THE BALL: Boston United remember the good times as they return to Bradford Park Avenue... and it’s ok to dream of a bright future

United celebrate promotion at Bradford Park Avenue.
United celebrate promotion at Bradford Park Avenue.

As Boston United prepare to return to the Horsfall Stadium, Duncan Browne remembers a Pilgrims play-off triumph in Bradford...

It was only a tiny vase, but Lee Canovillle threw it above his head as if it was the World Cup trophy.

United celebrate promotion at Bradford Park Avenue.

United celebrate promotion at Bradford Park Avenue.

Spencer Weir-Daley sprayed champagne over everyone. Anthony Church let out a few swear words. Shane Clancy wore a silly hat.

But nobody cared about any of that as Boston United had just won the UniBond Premier play-off final following a 2-1 extra-time victory against Bradford Park Avenue.

I can still remember that day - May 1, 2010 - like yesterday, watching Marc Newsham’s uncharacteristically fierce equaliser from the stands and Church’s winner from the queue for the gents behind the far goal, laughing as fans in amber and black scurried from inside to see if news of a goal was true, attempting to punch the air while still doing their flies up.

Those memories outlived the trophy captain Canoville was handed that day, the little glass vase meeting a grisly end after falling off a shelf in the boardroom several years ago.

But days like that - and that one at Hayes, like Wembley in 85 for those who made it to the capital - stick with you.

Maybe victory at the Horsfall Stadium remains so vivid because it was less than seven years ago.

Perhaps it’s because that was the last time - with the exception of a county cup triumph at Gainsborough - that the Pilgrims won any silverware.

In the following years Boston have been so close, yet so far.

Hearts have been broken by penalty kicks, overhead kicks and a goal scored as Nat Brown lay on the floor clutching his head.

On Saturday the Pilgrims will return to the Horsfall, that former cricket ground with its stadium seats which used to be found at Lord’s.

It’s by no means the most attractive ground in the National League North, but one which will carry fond memories for those from Lincolnshire who were there that spring day.

When the two teams exit the pavilion this weekend there will be no trophy up for grabs.

There will be no champagne on ice, although I can’t vouch for the language and choice of headwear.

League survival and consolidating a place in the division is about as good as it will get for either side this term.

Things are a bit more competitive up in this division.

But the fans will still be there, more in hope than expectation, as the saying goes.

Yet they will still be dreaming that the next big memory won’t be too far away.